MISO expands synchrophasor use, enhancing ability to simulate, troubleshoot bulk power system

The Midcontinent ISO (MISO) recently became one of the first grid operators in the United States to utilize synchrophasor technology in its real-time system operations for grid monitoring and analysis, the organization announced at the 2013 NARUC Summer Meetings in Denver July 23.

The projectm which MISO impelmented in real-time operations March 21, will enable the RTO to collect data from more than 344 phasor measurement units (PMU) that transmit information 30 times per second, significantly faster than current technology, which records measurements every four seconds, MISO said.

The collected data is GPS time-stamped, enabling measurements from different locations to be time-synchronized and combined to create a detailed, comprehensive wide-area assessment of system conditions. With this data MISO can better detect, diagnose and prevent system disruptions.

This latest project, funded by a $17.25m grant from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) as part of its effort to modernize the power grid, builds on a previous deployment of synchrophasor technology within the MISO system. In September 2012, MISO deployed synchrophasor technology in two areas of grid analytics: system modeling and after-the fact event analysis. The most recent deployment increased the number of PMUs, and the project will use the data in real-time operations.

“Incorporating these new technologies into real-time operations greatly increases our situational awareness of grid activity, and is essential to our effort to modernize the grid,” Richard Doying, MISO executive vice president of operations and corporate services, said in a statement announcing the expanded project. “Synchrophasor technologies provide us with unprecedented data on situations that could radically affect reliability. With these devices, we’ve extended our ability to see ongoing system conditions, providing additional assurance that consumers are benefiting from improved reliability and predictability.” 

Synchrophasor technology provides immediate value by enhancing MISO’s ability to simulate and troubleshoot the bulk power system, thus providing grid operators with a new level of situational awareness. MISO’s system operators can now view voltage and current measurements at any one of hundreds of strategic points along the interconnected transmission network at a level of detail that was impossible to obtain using older technologies, MISO added.

In addition to increasing the use of PMUs, MISO engineers pioneered a new feature for display  used in the control room. The feature, called enhanced real-time display (eRTD), uses data gathered by the PMUs to give system operators a geospatial visualization of grid activity. The feature has two-way functionality so participating transmission owners can see the same displays as MISO control room operators in real time.

Going forward, MISO intends to continue investigating new ways to extend the value gained from synchrophasor technology by integrating it into its state estimator tool, incorporating use of the technology with additional transmission owners, and data sharing with the entire Eastern Interconnection.

The project, which began after MISO received the DOE grant in 2010 and involved 17 transmission owners, came in on time and under budget, MISO said.

Other organizations that have also deployed synchrophasor technology funded by DOE grants include the Western Electricity Coordinating Council (WECC). On March 31, WECC announced that it and the nine partners in the Western Interconnection Synchrophasor Program (WISP) had completed the installation of almost 450 new or upgraded PMUs.

The WECC synchrophasor program began when WECC in 2009 received a $53.9m DOE grant under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act’s Smart Grid Investment Grant initiative. The WECC grant was used to match funds committed by the nine WISP partners, bringing total funding for WISP to $107.8m.

A total of 19 entities across the western United States and Canada participate in WISP to extend and deploy synchrophasor technologies within their western electrical systems. In addition to detecting electric system disruptions, synchrophasor technology can help companies see and manage intermittent renewable resources and to deploy ancillary services when necessary.